Sep 6, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies wide receiver Joshua Stanford (5) tries to pull away from Ohio State Buckeyes defensive lineman Steve Miller (88) at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
Entering the 2014 season, expectations were high for wide receiver Joshua Stanford after he had 40 catches for 640 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, and an average of 16.0 yards per reception. Stanford started the season as one of the two starting wide receivers along with freshman Isaiah Ford.
Stanford had to leave the team for a few weeks after Virginia Tech’s loss to East Carolina due to off the field issues. Stanford returned a few weeks later, and he worked his way back up the depth chart though he did not receive that much playing time as proven by how he only had 2 receptions after his return.
However, it seemed like Stanford would be ready to bounce back next season but that will not be the case.
This is very surprising to see that Stanford has decided to permanently leave the Virginia Tech football program, and it is expected that he will end up transferring elsehwere. It is unlikely that Stanford will stay in Blacksburg as a student for a year and try to rejoin the team at a later date similar to Kevin Asante this past year.
However, Stanford seems most likely to end up transferring elsewhere and while we are unsure of the reasons for his departure, it wouldn’t be surprising if he transferred closer to Ontario to a Big 10 or MAC school.
Dec 31, 2013; El Paso, TX, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies wide receiver Carlis Parker (16) runs the ball against the UCLA Bruins defense at Sun Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports
The loss of Joshua Stanford is significant as the Canadian wide receiver was going to be a very good number 3 wide receiver for the Hokies behind Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips. Now, the Hokies will have to look to other players to take the backup wide receiver spots with Stanford leaving and Willie Byrn graduating.
Carlis Parker is definitely the top candidate for the position after having a season in which he missed a few early games to deal with some issues off the field. Parker showed a lot of potential last spring and definitely has the talent to make the number 3 receiver spot not an issue.
Parker is now one of the two backups behind Ford and Phillips, and definitely can be the solution at the number 3 receiver spot though he is not a prototypical slot guy due to his size at 6’4”. However, Parker has good speed and is a player that could have at least 25 catches to 30 catches next season after not having a single catch yet this season.
Another potential candidate to be the number 3 receiver next year is Demitri Knowles who take a major fall down the depth chart which caused his numbers to go down to 3 catches for 55 yards. However, Knowles had 45 catches in 2013, and he has the speed to be effective out of the slot. There has to be some concern about the drop off Knowles suffered this past season and whether that is a deeper issue or just one bad season.
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Kevin Asante will be a senior next season, and this spring will be critical for him to see if he can earn some playing time. Asante is on the depth chart for the bowl game which is his debut on the depth chart for the 2014 season but that is due to the departure of Stanford and suspension of Deon Newsome. It seems more likely that Asante will need to transfer if he wants to get playing time at wide receiver.
Jaylen Bradshaw and Kendrick Holland both were redshirted this past season with Holland being redshirted due to a season-ending injury in fall practice, and Bradshaw being redshirted to preserve a year of eligibility. Holland and Bradshaw are two unknowns though reports are that both of these players have a lot of potential to be very good players.
This spring will be a great chance to see how good Holland and Bradshaw, and whether either one of them could be the number 3 or 4 wide receiver next season.
The one wild card name is four-star wide receiver Lawrence Cager who has the Hokies as one of his top schools. Virginia Tech will find out on January 3rd at the U.S. Army All-American Game where Cager will be playing his college football. Cager has tons of upside, but it is very uncertain whether the Hokies will actually get Cager.
One thing that is certain is that it will be tough replacing Joshua Stanford as he would have been a very good number 3 receiver for the Hokies next fall. However, Aaron Moorehead has done a very good job developing wide receivers, and Hokie fans should not be too worried at all. Good luck to Joshua Stanford on his future endeavors.